Blog, Employee Benefits

How technology and benefits platforms are enabling a global benefits strategy


Connecting employees, wherever they are

Before even thinking about a regional (or global) implementation, a benefits platform holds great value in its ability to virtually connect employees to the company and its culture.

Without doubt, the benefits technology trends we were seeing before the pandemic have been accelerated and show no signs of slowing down. In this new world of hybrid working and increased employee expectation, one of the challenges faced frequently by HR professionals is the need to ensure employees continue to feel part of an organisation and connected to colleagues, whether in the office, the home-office, or on the move.

Creating a unified culture

Building, and maintaining, a workplace culture is a challenge at the best of times – let alone when your workforce is spread across multiple regions, languages and social norms. In the new workplace, benefits technology can be instrumental in keeping employees engaged and feeling part of the culture.

Consider which benefits are on offer and how they’re delivered – from the options available to how they’re communicated – can help strengthen your culture. During the pandemic, we’ve seen an increase in use of technology to offer benefits that are core to company culture and objectives, such as leisure or wellness allowances, environmental benefits such as tree-planting or electric vehicles and a focus on giving back, through charitable giving and community/volunteer days.

In the same vein, benefits technology can also be linked to diversity, ethnicity and inclusion (DE&I), using technology to communicate and connect to employees on DE&I initiatives, spreading the messages you wish to convey globally, tailored to a regional audience and cultural relevance.

Spreading brand awareness

Another element of connecting your employees and building a unified workplace culture is the employer brand. While a complex topic deserving of its own post, employer branding is often critical to the success of a benefits scheme or technology launch.

Employees who see an employer brand that feels recognisable and resonates with them, regardless of where they work and what they’re working on, can be incredibly powerful. Your brand is the tool with which you relay your benefits messages, it’s the string tying your employees together across regions – so utilise your technology and amplify the brand.

Global choices, everywhere

Employees no longer need to be near the office, so why should their benefits be restricted by location? Regardless of country or location, your employees deserve the same exceptional experience. Today, companies are moving towards a globally aligned approach and treating employees the same, regardless of location. Talent recruitment is no longer restricted to a local area, and neither are benefits.

As part of the experience and moving towards equality across locations, companies want to offer more choice so that benefits are relevant and in line with employee circumstances. This can only be done using technology. Technology has put the spotlight on benefits and we’re seeing companies everywhere roll out globally unified benefits platforms to ensure employees all have the same access to a great choices, regardless of location. Although flex and choice may not be available everywhere on the same scale as the UK, many companies are questioning these perceived expectations, and beginning to push boundaries regarding what can be done to provide this choice regionally across Europe and even globally.

Real-time, localised analytics

One often-missed positive of technology and benefits alignment globally is the amount of data it unlocks for employers. The insight we can see from technology use, benefit selections and preferences is incredibly powerful for HR and reward professionals. Adding the global lens over this data empowers reward teams to see how engaged employees are, review alignment globally and regionally, reassess priorities and act accordingly if – for example – one country’s engagement looks lower than others.

Harmonising on a ‘glocal’ level

Although not new, benefits strategy and harmonisation has been part of multinational company philosophy for many years. For any international organisation, the challenge is to achieve a balance between the company’s objectives and approach to looking after employees and what is both ‘important’ and ‘relevant’ on a local and cultural level. In other words, making the objective both global and local – or glocal. The technology becomes the glue to stick the global initiative and local action together.

A great example of this is how companies are viewing their global or regional wellbeing strategy. Whereas before this may have been implemented (if at all) on a local basis, employers are now looking at making it more of an intrenched part of their benefit offering to all employees. While the benefit will change locally in terms of allowance available and how it can be used, the use of technology allows the company to standardise its benefit strategy. That way, if employees move between locations the benefit approach and how it is presented from country to country remains the same.

Final thoughts

With our customers, I’ve seen that the roll out of technology is an intricate piece of a company’s benefit strategy that can take several years. But with an in-depth audit and a more centralised understanding and management of benefits, reward teams are in a great position to look at a more tactical approach using multinational pooling and alignment with insurers and their networks. Uniting your benefits and technology is the first, and most powerful, step.

Originally posted on REBA

Niko Rowe

Niko Rowe

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